Cosnova’s ambitious 50% to zero plastic waste goal slowly takes shape

German cosmetic brand Cosnova's ambitious goal towards 50% to zero plastic waste recycling by 2025 is slowly taking shape as it concludes a generous 35,000 USD donation to Plastics For Change.

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waste picker bends down to collect a discarded plastic bottle
German cosmetic company Cosnova has set an ambitious 50% plastic waste recycling goal by 2025

Through the much-needed donation, which aim is not only to ensure that discarded plastic is recycled but also help create a sustainable livelihood for Indian workers, the multinational fair-trade organisation has managed to expand two of its collection centers for ocean plastic waste in India since the beginning of 2020.

An army of waste pickers work in various sites in India – mainly Mangalore and Bangalore port cities – where they collect unsorted plastic waste and process it into a high-quality basis for recyclables, i.e. reprocessed plastics, which can then serve a new purpose as recycled packaging.

“Plastics For Change is proud to partner with Cosnova on this exciting project. Unlike many western countries, emerging countries like India lack access to formal waste management systems,” Andrew Almack, CEO of Plastic For Change said.

As an article by recyclingtoday.com points out, PFC is credited with helping build a more consistent and efficient supply chain of recycled plastics from emerging countries. Furthermore it has inspired young men and women in India to start their own successful recycling ventures.

According to Almack, unorganised groups of recyclers use crude technology that results in down cycling of the material and use exploitative practices. As such this contribution “marks an important milestone on our mission to formalise the informal recycling economy”.

A mobile platform that helps brands ethically source recycled plastic, ensuring fair wages for urban waste pickers, Plastic For Change partners with large fast-moving consumer goods companies to implement its programs and build transparency in pricing of recyclable plastics and ethical sources of collection.

This process doesn’t only financially benefit waste pickers and waste sector which in South Africa alone is valued at about R18-billion, but also brands as they get to learn best processes for sourcing recycled plastic.

Explaining what the partnership means for the medium-sized cosmetic company, Maximilian Peters, CSI senior manager at Cosnova said: “Plastics For Change provides dignity to the recyclers in the supply chain and makes a valuable contribution to recycling management, environmental protection and fair trade.”

The recyclable materials obtained, he added, are of a very high quality and can help us to “produce even more packaging from recycled material in future”.

The donation has, among other things, made it possible to purchase a conveyor belt for segregation and a machine for removing labels at the Mangalore site, and to increase occupational safety.

Furthermore, it has helped reduced the daily working hours of the workers to eight hours and ensured compliance with local protection laws.

Productivity has also increased more than threefold, NOWinSA has learnt. The next steps of the joint project are the expansion of the Bangalore plant and further training on occupational safety and health.

Cosnova’s ambitious goal: 50% to Zero recyclates by 2025

Recyclable packaging is an important component of the cosmetic industry as more companies become largely known not only for their major scientific breakthroughs, but for eco-friendly products which are recognised worldwide as easy to recycle at end-of-life.

With its sustainability strategy, Cosnova is also committed to the increased use of recycled materials. To this end, the company has set itself the ambitious goal of producing at least 50% to zero of its packaging from recycled or renewable raw materials by 2025.

In the long term, the exercise is expected to save up to 80% energy and 60% greenhouse gases. “Our plans also include using recycled material processed by Plastics For Change in the product packaging for our brands in the future. We are already planning various test runs with our packaging suppliers for this,” Peters explained.

A market leader in more than 10 European countries, as well as South Africa and the Middle East, Cosnova is producers of some of the country’s popular beauty brands including Essence, Catrice and L.O.V

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